President Obama Signs Executive Order Protecting GLBT Federal Employees, Media Ignores Representation from Bisexual Community at Signing Ceremony
When President Obama recently signed an Executive Order protecting GLBT federal workers from employment discrimination, it was a big deal. Representatives from a variety of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender communities were present at the signing. Most media reports, however, neglected to note the presence of BiNet USA president and long time bisexual activist Faith Cheltenham, who has spoken and written incisively about workplace discrimination experience by bisexual folks in the past (see Workplace Discrimination Series: Faith Cheltenham).
Bi+ folks are speaking up about this notable instance of bisexual erasure. BOP Chair Camille Holthaus wrote an excellent piece on her blog called Bi Erasure or Why Presidential Hugs Don’t Mean We’re Visible.
Bi erasure is complicated. It is done to us when bisexuals are relabeled as gay, lesbian or straight by the media or historians. It is done to us when headlines, event announcements and “inclusive” pride parades don’t say bisexual. We do it to ourselves whenever we allow someone to assume that we are straight, gay or lesbian.
GLAAD is one of the few groups that reported on the presence of Faith Cheltenham at this historic event: Obama Historically Joined by Trans and Gay Faith Leaders, Bi Advocates in Signing Executive Order. GLAAD also reported on the bi erasure by most news and other media in Reporting Erases Bi Presence, Community Members at Executive Order Signing and they quoted extensively from Camille Holthaus' blog post.
You can read more about the Executive Order and the signing ceremony here: President Obama Signs a New Executive Order to Protect LGBT Workers and watch video of the ceremony below.
October 7-9, 2022
St Paul, MN
We hope you will join us for the BECAUSE Conference as it's never been before: a hybrid event of in-person and online workshops, speakers, and social events. With Zoom producers and experienced programming staff, we are developing a new way of experiencing BECAUSE while keeping all the engagement, support, and community that has been at the core of the conference for the last 30 years.
Build, serve and advocate for an empowered bisexual, pansexual, fluid, queer, and unlabeled (bi+) community to promote social justice.
Within the next five years grow Bisexual Organizing Project (BOP) into a successfully-run Upper Midwest nonprofit organization with annual funding of $100,000 that provides community building, education, and advocacy for the bisexual, pansexual, fluid, queer, and unlabeled (bi+) community and our allies.